JOHNSON CITY (Jan. 9, 2012) – With head coach Murry Bartow away to attend funeral services for his father Gene, the ETSU men’s basketball team will be attempting to extend its current two-game winning streak as the Buccaneers take on Atlantic Sun Conference foe Kennesaw State Monday evening inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
Tip is set for a special 6 p.m. start time due to the BCS football national championship game later that evening.
In Bartow’s absence, assistant coach Scott Wagers will be the team’s acting head coach Monday evening. The Bucs are currently 7-7 overall, 2-2 in A-Sun play.
For more on Monday’s game, click on the game notebook link to the right or read the game notes below. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2011-12 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.
We are “ETSU”
The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics would like to ask both the print and broadcast media to honor our request to be called “ETSU” ... East Tennessee State in first reference is acceptable, but subsequent references should be ETSU ... On TV graphics please use ETSU ... Our nickname is the Buccaneers, but Bucs is also acceptable.
While posting its highest RPI since the 2003-04 season, head coach Murry Bartow led the ETSU men’s basketball team to another successful season in 2010-11, a campaign that included 24 wins and ultimately ended with a run to the semifinals of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament … Led by seniors such as Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) and all-conference performer Micah Williams (Manchester), the Bucs enjoyed impressive road wins at Atlantic 10 Conference member Dayton and Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State, while also finishing second in the A-Sun Conference standings … Along with Smith and Williams, fellow senior Justin Tubbs (Trussville, Ala.) continued to impress fans with his high-flying dunks, which twice landed him as the No. 1 play of the day on ESPN’s SportsCenter and earned him a spot in the national slam dunk championships … Unfortunately for the Bucs, Smith, Williams and Tubbs have departed, leaving the team with the unenviable task of having to replace over 42 points of offensive production from a year ago – equal to 60 percent of the team’s scoring in 2010-11 … The Bucs will begin looking for those offensive numbers from returning starters such as senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) and senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.), while senior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) – a 2010 A-Sun all-conference and all-tournament performer – will return to the floor after taking a medical redshirt season a year ago … Other returning players looking to improve their production will include junior guards Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) and Jarvis Jones (Memphis), junior forwards J.C. Ward (Marietta) and Lukas Poderis (Tampa), and redshirt freshman point guard Ryan Woumn (Lynn, Mass.) … The Bucs have also added a talented recruiting class.
The series versus Kennesaw State
The Bucs are 11-1 all-time against the Owls, including a 93-62 win over Kennesaw State in their last meeting back on Jan. 29, 2011 ... ETSU has won 11 straight in the series.
Last time out against Kennesaw State
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 29, 2011) - Senior guard Micah Williams (Manchester) eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career and the ETSU men’s basketball team scored 55 first-half points, as the Buccaneers raced out of the gates and then cruised to a 93-62 win over Kennesaw State in Atlantic Sun Conference basketball action Saturday afternoon at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Williams’ milestone basket came with 17:55 left on the clock in the second half, as he sank a long-range 3-pointer from the left wing. He finished with 22 points, while fellow senior guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) picked up a career high 27 points to lead all ETSU scorers. With the win, the Buccaneers improved to 15-8 overall, 10-2 in A-Sun play, winning for the 11th time in 12 games. Meanwhile, the Owls dropped to 5-16, 3-8. ... Along with Williams and Smith, junior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while junior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) enjoyed a strong effort by posting 15 points and dishing out five assists. ... In the first half, the Bucs took a 4-4 game and proceeded to go on a 20-8 run to make it 24-12 with 12:48 left on the clock. ETSU never let up from there, going on to outscore the Owls 31-17 the rest of the way and build a 55-29 lead at the break. ... The Bucs shot a blistering 65 percent from the field in the first half, including a 43 percent clip from beyond the 3-point arc. ETSU also outrebounded KSU 23-14 and forced eight turnovers by the Owls. Smith finished with 19 points before the break, while Williams pitched 13 before the break. ... After the break, the Bucs only continued to build their advantage and ultimately held its largest lead of the game at 93-51 with 3:23 left in the contest. ... For the game, ETSU shot an impressive 62 percent from the floor and out-rebounded the Owls 39-28.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY (Jan. 7, 2011) – The ETSU men’s basketball team used a relentless defensive attack and 20-point efforts from senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) and junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.) to drop Mercer 76-61 in Atlantic Sun Conference action inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... The Bucs, who shot 53 percent from the floor and 77 percent from the foul line for the game, got a game-high 23 points and six assists from Sollazzo, and 21 points from Dubose. Meanwhile, senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami) netted 16 points and blocked three shots. ... Defensively, ETSU held the Bears to 41 percent shooting from the floor and forced 21 turnovers, which allowed the Bucs to outscore Mercer 16-0 on fast break points. For the Bears, Justin Cecil led their attack with a team-high 17 points. ... In the first half, the two teams were tied at 7-7 before ETSU went on to outscore the Bears 42-23 the rest of the half and take a 49-30 lead at the break. In the second half, the Bucs lead grew to as many as 29 points at 69-40 with 6:54 left in the game, before ETSU substituted its entire bench and the Bears took advantage by outscoring the Bucs 21-7 the rest of the way. ... Along with the offensive efforts of Sollazzo, Dubose and Brown, ETSU got a game-high 10 rebounds from junior forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.), while senior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) collected a game-high five steals. ETSU dished out 13 assists as a team, but did commit 16 turnovers.
Sollazzo stepping up his offensive game
Senior point guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa) has found a strong offensive rhythm in recent games ... In his last 10 games, Sollazzo has scored in double figures nine times ... Over that time frame, he has averaged 18.1 points, 4.7 assists, and 5.4 rebounds, and is shooting 49 percent from the floor. ... Sollazzo currently ranks first on the team in points (15.6 ppg) and assists (4.9 rpg), and is third in rebounds (5.6 rpg).
Bucs, Cooley among nation’s best in steals
Key to the Bucs’ wins this year has been the ability to swipe the ball from opponents ... Through games of Jan. 5, ETSU ranked fifth in the country in steals per game, averaging 9.9 steals a contest ... Meanwhile, junior Sheldon Cooley (Tampa) has been on a torrid pace this season and a big reason for the Bucs’ success in the steals category, averaging 2.4 steals per game ... Through games as of Jan. 5, he ranked 26th nationally in steals per game.
Getting to the free throw line a key for the Bucs
In recent years, the Bucs have focused on playing stingy defense, but also driving to the basket on offense and trying to get “tough” points thanks to fouls ... One way for the ETSU coaching staff to determine how successful the Bucs have been is charting free throw attempts and makes ... Well if this statistic is a true indicator, then the Bucs did just as the coaches would like ... Last season, ETSU set a school record for free throw attempts, putting up a total of 856 free tosses ... The Bucs also made their share of those attempts, ranking second on the all-time list with 580 makes ... The 2010-11 edition of the Bucs came up just nine makes short of the all-time record, held by the 1991-92 Bucs at 589. ... However, this season the team has continued to make it to the line, but is shooting just 65 percent from the stripe -- in other words not capitalizing.
Poderis reaches career mark for rebounds
In recent weeks, junior forward Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) has become a truly valuable part of the Buccaneers attack ... In the win over Mercer, Poderis picked up a career high 10 rebounds, and that effort came two days after he matched his career high for points with 14 against USC Upstate ... For the year, Poderis is averaging 5.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in 19.6 minutes per game.
Block party for Brown
With a block in last season’s finale against Iona, senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) set a new school record for blocks in a single season, swatting away a total of 71 shots on the year ... For his career, he now stands fourth on the all-time list at 165, but is just 17 blocks behind the program’s all-time leader Zakee Wadood ... In addition to those marks, Brown’s six-block performance against Belmont last year also matched the program’s single-game record ... At the time, Brown joined six other ETSU players who have had six-block games, including former standouts Brad Nuckles, Eryk Thomas, Jerald Fields, Zakee Wadood, Greg Dennis and Greg Hamlin.
Bucs showing “flex”-ability with offense
In ETSU’s game against Appalachian State back on Dec. 10, the Bucs debuted a new offensive wrinkle, utilizing one of basketball’s most traditional offenses ... The “flex” is an offense that utilizes multiple screens and a great deal of slashing throughout the paint ... The results were good for the Bucs, who enjoyed several layups and dunks against the Mountaineers, as they won 65-48 to snap a four-game losing streak.
On their way to 1,000 points
As they begin their seniors seasons, ETSU’s trio of Isiah Brown, Adam Sollazzo and Tommy Hubbard are all eying the 1,000 point mark for their careers. After the season opener at Virginia Tech, here is where each stands:
Isiah Brown........................................................................ 933 points
Tommy Hubbard ........................................................... 697 points
Adam Sollazzo ................................................................ 770 points
To reach 1,000, the three would have to average the following during the regular season:
Isiah Brown..................................................... 7.0 points per game
Tommy Hubbard....................................... 14.7 points per game
Adam Sollazzo............................................ 14.8 points per game
Bucs add to postseason resume
The ETSU men’s basketball team has enjoyed its share of postseason success and ranks as one of the nation’s most prestigious basketball programs ... The Buccaneers have earned berths to the NCAA Tournament nine times (1969, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010) and NIT twice (1983, 2007) ... In 2011, the Bucs made their first ever appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, winning twice and advancing to the semifinals of that event ... It was the program’s 12th postseason tournament appearance all-time.
Home Sweet Dome
Since the 1996-97 season, the Buccaneers are an amazing 148-45 overall inside Memorial Center, good for a winning percentage of 77 percent ... But when looking at the past 10 years, the Bucs are an even more impressive 45-4 against non-conference opponents ... Last year, the Bucs went 13-2 at the Dome ... This year the Bucs are 5-0 at home.
ETSU picked among nation’s best “Prestige” programs
Since the beginning of the modern era for NCAA Division I-A basketball – marked by the expansion of the NCAA Tournament field to 64 teams in 1984-85 – the ETSU men’s basketball program ranks in the Top 30 percent of the 300 programs that were eligible for the postseason at that time, this according to ESPN.com’s “Prestige” ranking released back in 2008 ... Since that time, the Bucs have only added to their list of prestigious honors … The Buccaneers -- who have enjoyed nine NCAA Tournament trips, one NIT and one CIT berth, 14 20-win seasons, and a slew of conference regular season and tournament championships since 1984-85 -- ranked tied for 82nd out of 300 teams, meaning they were in the Top 27 percent of schools making the list. ETSU was ranked ahead of every current Atlantic Sun Conference team, as well as former Southern Conference rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. In addition, the Bucs ranked ahead of SEC schools such as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia, Mississippi and Auburn, as well as programs such as Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson, California and Florida State.